How would I group the following:


Where q=quaver, s=semiquaver, z=quarter rest, .=dot.

Assume 4 q to the beat.

By "group" I mean, join together the beams. I know one should join to form whole beats, but here the q. spans beats. Should I break the q. into sq and use a tie?

This is me trying to learn a RHCP song by ear/memory but finding a need to take notes...

  • 1
    I'd recommend to put a score picture in. There are really huge numbers of free programs to produce it and using a new notation instead of a well-established one might not attract numerous answers.
    – guidot
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 6:56

2 Answers 2


The present answer is actually very good, but one fatal flaw has resulted in its downvote, so I thought I'd offer a full answer.

The best version is:

enter image description here

The reason this is the best is because—as you guessed!—it clearly shows each quarter-note beat; note that each beamed group corresponds to exactly one quarter-note pulse. Even if this means using ties, do it! Contrast this with another version:

enter image description here

This version does not show each quarter-note beat clearly; beat three of either measure, for instance, is hidden in the middle of the dotted-eighth. When this happens, it's very easy for a performer (especially one who is sight reading) to get confused.


Here are two different versions set with LilyPond: Without/with ties

The input for that is simple enough:

\version "2.19.65"
\new RhythmicStaff
  |8 8 8 16 8. 8 8 16 16~8 8 8  16 8. 8 r4|
  |8 8 8 16 16~8 8 8 16 16~8 8 8  16 16~8 8 r4|

Personally, I like the first version better in spite of the inconsistencies in beaming and at the barline. One does not get lost as easily as with the second version. Of course, that's quite up to taste.

  • 5
    The first form is highly undesirable and never used in published music. The main problem is that you have a dotted-eighth "backwards" and crossing a beat border. The second is far easier to read. Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 12:21
  • 1
    As support for this, as much as I use first version-like beaming in my own sheet music, I've been repeatedly told to use second version-like beaming in NinSheetMusic (a VGM transcription website).
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 14:16
  • 3
    Yes, the first version is unreadable.
    – Laurence
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 19:49

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